Saturday, September 2, 2023

LAT 3:20 (Stella) 


Newsday 17:02 (pannonica) 


NYT 4:47 (Amy) 


Universal tk (norah)  


USA Today tk (Matthew) 


WSJ untimed (pannonica) 


Rebecca Goldstein’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s recap

NY Times crossword solution, 9/2/23 – no. 0902

This crossword tells lies! The constructor places “I’M NOT A SCIENTIST” right in the middle though she is indeed a scientist.

Lots of crisp fill. My faves: ZOMBIE, PUFFIN, SET FOR LIFE (but I could do without “I’M SET” duplicating parts of two aforementioned entries, plus INSET), GOBLIN MODE (though I am still hazy on what this means), CHEEZ-ITS crossing ZIT (“there’s a ZIT in every CHEEZ-IT”; sorry to Brian Cimmet if he’s reading), “UH, OKAY.” MOOD SWINGS, “NO REGRETS,” GARLIC FRIES (didn’t know that was a thing).

Not entirely sure I’ve ever encountered TRIPLE TAKE, which is one reaction beyond a double take.

Unexpected clue two-fer: [It has triangular blades] for the plant SEDGE and [It has a triangular blade] for EPEE.

[Nickname that can be a diminutive of a family member] clues TITO here. In my husband’s dad’s family, his aunts are, for example, Tita Maria; there aren’t any uncles but presumably they’d be called Tito. In my mother-in-law’s family, they’re Tia and Tio but pronounced with a “ch” sound, “chə” and “choh.” (Different parts of the Philippines.) What name is Tito a nickname for?

Four stars from me.

Jimmy Peniston and Matthew Stock’s Los Angeles Times crossword — Stella’s write-up

Los Angeles Times 8/28/23 by Jimmy Peniston and Matthew Stock

Los Angeles Times 8/28/23 by Jimmy Peniston and Matthew Stock

I asked for something a bit harder for Saturday and here it is! I’m lacking in time for a real write-up, but enjoyed entries like BALLOON ART, LUNAR ROVER, and VIRAL VIDEO; less so some of the shorter fill like ENOS and ALBS.

A couple of places where probably intentionally laid traps came into play: [Vegas opener?] at 54D, which with a three-letter entry immediately leads one to drop in LAS when the answer is VEE; 20A [College declaration] which leads quickly to MAJOR instead of the correct MINOR. (This also caused me to put BANJO instead of the correct PIANO at 10D, since I’ve never seen Green Book, and I think at least 20 seconds of my solving time was spent sorting that out.)

Randolph Ross’ Wall Street Journal crossword, “Just Sayin'” — pannonica’s write-up

WSJ • 9/2/23 • Sat • “Just Sayin'” • Ross • solution • 20230902

The theme entries involve g-dropping, but then they are re-parsed as if they were a hyphenate phrase ending in -in.

  • 22a. [Report from a hotel desk clerk?] CHECK-IN ACCOUNT (checking account).
  • 31a. [Football team that ignores the alarm clock?] SLEEP-IN GIANTS (sleeping giants).
  • 45a. [Female character from a prologue?] LEAD-IN LADY (leading lady).
  • 62a. [Info about a burglary?] BREAK-IN NEWS (breaking news).
  • 74a. [Wherewithal to join a poker tournament?] BUY-IN POWER (buying power).
  • 90a. [TV channel featuring understudies?] FILL-IN STATION (filling station).
  • 101a. [Cheers for a substitute?] STAND-IN OVATION (standing ovation).
  • 16d. [Some emergency room patients?] WALK-IN WOUNDED (walking wounded).
  • 52d. [Concern for Goldie Hawn on a 1960s TV show?] LAUGH-IN MATTER (laughing matter).

This felt like a fresh approach to wordplay, one that I don’t recall seeing in precisely this way before.

  • 2d [Sharp, when broadcast] IN HI-DEF, which looks wild in the grid. Relatedly, as anyone experienced the “soap opera effect” with newer televisions? There’s almost always a way to disable that ‘feature’.
  • 11d [Holdups and the like] BANDITRY, which absolutely sounds like a word that Bugs Bunny would use.
  • 14d [Spot awards] CLIOS. I’ve always wondered why the advertising industry would choose the Muse of history as namesake for its awards. Okay, I just went to Wikipedia and got this: “The awards, founded by Wallace A. Ross in 1959, are named for the Greek goddess Clio, the mythological Muse known as ‘the proclaimer, glorifier and celebrator of history, great deeds and accomplishments.'” So I guess she was a bit more diversified than I’d realized.
  • 88d [ __ bird (albatross)] GOONEY. That’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time.
  • 104d [Lucy’s pal] VIV. Vivian Vance, who played Ethel Mertz.
  • 105d [Big heart?] ACE.
  • 1a [Restaurant slots] SITTINGS. Whoa, this should definitely be SEATINGS.
  • 27a [Snake substitute] DRĀNO®. Was nonplussed by the clue until a few crossings were in the place.
  • 40a [Ont. city across the Niagara River from Buffalo] FT ERIE. Without the T crossing all I could think of to complete the entry was FAERIE (obviously I didn’t heed the “Ont.” abbreviation signal in the clue).
  • 80a [Gallery rejects] BAD ART. Not always!
  • 84a [Suit in mah-jongg] BAMS, short for bamboos.
  • 111a [Without a hint of leniency] SEVERELY. Mis-fill here, as I interpreted the clue as indicating SEVEREST.

One of the many percussion instruments here is made of bamboo:

But much nicer still is the shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute. Here’s my favorite album of that in its entirety. Perfect for a morning like this.

Stella Zawistowski’s Newsday crossword, Saturday Stumper — pannonica’s write-up

Newsday • 9/2/23 • Saturday Stumper • Zawistowski • solution • 20230902

Solving sequence:

  1. twelve-down, 18-across, and then all of the upper right
  2. about a third of the upper left
  3. a smattering in the lower half, sometimes just an S of a plural entry
  4. remainder of upper left
  5. nothing
  6. nearly all of the lower right
  7. more of the lower left
  8. the crossing of 45-down and 59-across

About 45d [Alternative to “<“] CRESC. My first thought was that this was an abbreviation for crescent, reminiscent of the same shape. But then I realized it must be short for crescendo, although I had no idea that that character is a common notation. And yep, Wikipedia confirms this.

  • 23a [Legal ability] POWER. Was primed for this from a clue or answer in a different crossword that I solved recently. Definitely helped move things along here.
  • 26a [They have lots to talk about] AUCTIONEERS. I twigged to the misdirection, but was still incorrectly thinking about real estate agents.
  • 39a [Daughter of two Titans] EOS. Not a particularly illuminating clue.
  • 42a [Saharan circumstance] DRY AIR. Hard to believe that this is a legitimate clue/answer, really.
  • 43a [Paused drilling] STOOD AT EASE. Once again, I avoided the misdirection, but  still required some crossings to get the right answer.
  • 51a [Patch thatch] REROOF. Oof. But at least it’s under 45a [Thatcher’s undergrad major] CHEM?
  • 54a [Figure-of-speech escapee] EEL. As in, slippery as an.
  • 62a [What Chopin called one of his works] VALSE. But here’s Bruno Bazzetto’s imagining of Sibelius’ Valse Triste in the animated film Allegro Non Troppo (1976):
  • 2d [Didn’t try to hide] OWNED UP TO. This entry was a big factor in my early completion of the upper left section.
  • 12d [Samurai wanderer] RŌNIN. As mentioned previously, this was instrumental in getting started with the whole solve.
  • 14d [Cut followers] DEALS. Diabolical clue.
  • 20d [The Designer’s Cookbook subject] FOOD ART. I had imagined that the cookbook part of the title was metaphorical, but no.
  • 23d [Three-legged duelers] PIANOS. Tricky, nasty clue. Who thinks of PIANOS as primarily dueling instruments?
  • 24d [Baroque Bolognese master] Guido RENI.
  • 28d [’73 Emmy winner for a role played Lemmon in films] RANDALL. “Films, plural?” I thought—it turns out there was a 1998 sequel to The Odd Couple with Matthau and Lemmon reprising their roles.
  • 29d [Jet stream] SPURTS. Not completely buying this one.
  • 32d [Ray, for one] SEA ANIMAL. Way too generic an answer.
  • 38d [Vessel chain] TYE. Even though it’s so short, this was a critical get in my solve, one that I wasn’t really sure of, despite using the word all the time in Lexulous and Scrabble.
  • 52d [Roundish tropical fish] OPAH.
  • 53d [French word for “strong”] FORT, but I tried BRUT first. Turns out that that’s closer to raw or crude.

kind of goofy, but fun

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11 Responses to Saturday, September 2, 2023

  1. David L says:

    Amy, you don’t know what a triple take is? Here is an expert portrayal, with a bonus!

    • JohnH says:

      I had double forever, and it really slowed me down. I, too, don’t understand how tio becomes TITO, but I’ll just have to accept it.

  2. RCook says:

    The STUMPER has a gaffe (among other questionable traits). Paul KLUGMAN won the Emmy in 1973, not Tony RANDALL. The latter won in 1975 for the role in question.

  3. David L says:

    I found the Stumper easier than I expected, considering the constructor. But there was some questionable stuff, IMO. TYE is not only an obscure word, but the definition referenced is a rare one. FORETASTE doesn’t seem like a synonym for ‘anticipation.’ SECTARIAN for ‘narrowly confined’ is arguable. I agree with pannonica’s take on SPURT and SEAANIMAL. To ‘patch’ and to REROOF are hardly the same thing.

    And the clue for PIANOS just seems bizarre to me.

    I suppose one could argue that these clue/answer combos are all within the general ambit of Stumperdom but that’s one reason I find the puzzles somewhat irksome, even though I tackle them every week.

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